Sure, we can ask our friends and family members for advice on how to navigate our formidable years, but strangers on the Internet work just as well.
Thousands of people have shared their wisdom with the community’s youth.
Here are some of the shinier pearls.
“Try to avoid thinking of your 30s as some kind of stopping point for fun things.”
- Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider
“This is perhaps not the advice you’re looking for but maybe you should also try to avoid thinking of your 30s as some kind of stopping point for fun things, where all you can do is look back and sigh about what could have been. I know of several people whose 30s have been more fun than their 20s, and it’s in part because they can look back with experience and realize they’re better at balancing and enjoying the things they want to do. You still have so much in life, don’t just let it be over because you survived another 365 days!” – Romination
“Learn what kinds of drinks get you to the no-no-zone.”
- Getty Images
“Get to know your intoxicants. Spend your 20s getting good at being f—– up however you like to get f—– up. That means making some mistakes, sure, but be safe. Don’t do the really dumb stuff like try to drive home s—faced, or sleep with someone without protection. If you like to drink, for example, learn how much is too much for you. Learn what kinds of drinks get you to the no-no-zone, which to stay away from. Figure out how to spend the most time at a party in a feeling really good zone, when to start drinking water, and coming down, and when to say goodbye.” – jseego
“I regret racking up debt. That nearly killed me in my 30s.”
- REUTERS/Rick Wilking
“I regret not saving more money and, more importantly, I regret racking up debt. That nearly killed me in my 30s. Some of it was necessary, of course, but a lot was credit card overkill.
“I also regret not traveling more. Once we married and started having kids, travel got curtailed. We still went on trips but they were family trips. I wish I would have taken her on a couple of big out-of-country excursions before family came into play.” – zoidbert
“Kicking yourself over past failures won’t change what happened, it will just leave you sore from being kicked so much.”
- Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
“Forgive yourself. Kicking yourself over past failures won’t change what happened, it will just leave you sore from being kicked so much. Give up all hope for a better past. Own who you have been so it doesn’t own you.
“This really applies to all ages, but it’s a skill that takes a while to develop so you might as well start young and really figure it out. I haven’t met many people under twenty who have taken it to heart but I have found a number of people in their twenties who are really starting to get it. I’ve also met people in their 80’s and 90’s who still don’t get it and are filled with regrets.” – techniforus
“Do not spend one more minute of your life with someone who makes you feel like you are less than you are.”
“Do not spend one more minute of your life with someone who makes you feel like you are less than you are … he or she will never change for the better and you might just change for the worse.” – rubyfisch
“Health problems are a much bigger pain now, compared to how much effort it would have taken to not let them become an issue at all.”
- Flying Kiwi Tours / Flickr
“I wish I had taken better care of myself. Instead, I let my weight catch back up with me, I ignored a few dental problems, and I didn’t take care of my finances as well as I should have.
“I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m 31 now, and none of these problems are dire for me, but God they’re a much bigger pain in the ass to deal with now, compared to how much effort it would have taken to not let them become an issue at all.” – DrewsephVladmir
“I wish I had spent my college years developing job-related skills.”
- Getty Images / Photofusion
“I wish I had spent my college years developing job-related skills instead of expecting that a four-year degree would be enough.” – aminoacetate
“Don’t let fear win.”
- Screengrab from Braveheart
“Don’t talk yourself out of doing things you want to do. Don’t let fear win. If you want to vacation in Europe, do it. If you want to talk to that hot girl/guy at the bar, do it. If you want to start your own business, do it (and do the research first). Getting to your 30s and having a string of regrets is going to haunt you.” – Bhruic
“Don’t compare yourself to others.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others. In the social media age, it is tempting to beat yourself up if your friends are getting married, having kids, and living a life of luxury. We each live our own lives. The only thing you’re going to do is hurt yourself.” – hstrygeek1
“Don’t get caught up in the cycle of buying expensive things to keep up with the Joneses.”
- Wikimedia Commons
“Don’t get caught up in the cycle of buying expensive things to keep up with the Joneses and impress people. People in their twenties seem to want it all NOW. Don’t fall into that trap.” – Keetlady
“Don’t rush to cram stuff into your twenties because you think you should.”
- Ryan Ritchie/Flickr
“I am 36 and I have never understood this ‘do things before you’re 30’ thing. I don’t see why you can’t do things after you’re 30, or after you’re 40. I don’t see why the number 30 is so symbolic.
“My advice is don’t rush to cram stuff into your twenties because you think you should. Just do what you want, do what feels natural, and take your time with it if need be.” – michaelnoir
“Don’t burn your bridges.”
- University of Exeter/Flickr
“Don’t burn your bridges. Personal, work, whatever. There will be times when you will need to be amiable with people from the past for various reasons and the last thing you need is someone saying ‘F— that guy’ because of something petty or stupid that could have easily been avoided.” – Rohri_Calhoun
“Build upon friendships.”
“Build upon friendships. There is more to life than going out every night. Stay at home with close friends. Go on adventures together.
That being said, don’t be afraid to end some friendships. Fair weather friends are not worth your time. Stay loyal to those that truly matter and invest your time with them.” – hstrygeek1
“Don’t be afraid to change directions.”
- Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images
“Yeah, you went to high school, then maybe did some college, tech school, training or whatever and thought that was your direction. But if you finally get a job, and you’re not happy, work to change that s— immediately. Spending your entire work week being unhappy just because it pays the bills will not make you happy.
“The longer you wait to change, the harder it will feel to change. So get used to change, because you’ll probably need to do it a number of times throughout your life and career.” – turkoosi_aurinko
“Simply this: I realized that life in my twenties would not be as rewarding and rich as life in my thirties and forties.”
“I should have been more responsible and productive in my twenties so that my life in my forties would be simpler. Not easier necessarily, but simpler. That the pleasures ‘reserved’ (in my mind) for the young are actually more satisfying and rewarding for the forty-something.
“Life’s rewards are only truly appreciated through the lens of what simple wisdom we gain along the path to middle age. Memories, the fading illusions of how strong and vital we were in our twenties, pale in contrast with the pleasures of a life led where painful lessons provide a greater appreciation of pleasures.” – Glib1